Decorating a saguaro cactus is a prickly undertaking, but with ladders and lifts, they do it each year all around the southwest’s Sonoran Desert.
We traveled to Phoenix this Advent to spend time with close friends to mark the first anniversaries of both their parents’ deaths in the past year. Like with many people, this season of family gatherings brings grief to the surface, but more importantly, also faith, hope and love that still remain!
Picture the saguaro’s lighted form as metaphorical, representing worshippers with arms lifting up bright lights to pierce the darkness in this holy season of joyful celebration and praise! Just imagine the view if every cactus in the saguaro forests on the Sonoran hillsides were lifting up the season’s lights this time of year!
But my Advent travels took me both down south and up north, where views of saguaros were replaced by spruces and pines decorated with heavy wet December snow! Their steepled spires pointed high into beautiful blue skies, while at the same time, their snow-ladened boughs bowed down under the weight of winter’s flurries accumulated. It was the most beautiful up-north drive I can remember from any season of the year!
My Advent conclusion … God is the best decorator! And the divine decorator accomplishes this perfectly created glory over countless growing seasons and, at the same time, overnight in a snowstorm! Amazing!
The Biblical Christmas story reports that Mary and Joseph traveled on foot and by donkey about 90 miles across the Judean desert from their hometown in Nazareth to their ancestral town of Bethlehem in the Judean hill country, where their child, the holy One, was born. That trip and that birth profoundly impacted the world as well as my personal life journey, for which I am grateful forevermore!
Coming back home to our living room, the Christmas tree has moved all the furnishings aside to become the season’s centerpiece with its shining lights and glittering decorations, which we have placed on it with care, but imperfectly. Next to it on a stand, my eye was drawn instead to my wife’s Christmas cactus plant with its beautiful bright feathery blossoms!
Again, I must ultimately conclude, God is the best decorator of all!
Editor’s note: EPLN contributor Pastor Rod Anderson serves on the EPLN Board of Directors. Anderson is the former senior pastor of St. Andrew Lutheran Church in Eden Prairie. If you would like to contribute a faith-based column to EPLN, email email@example.com.
We offer several ways for our readers to provide feedback. Your comments are welcome on our social media posts (Facebook, X, Instagram, Threads, and LinkedIn). We also encourage Letters to the Editor; submission guidelines can be found on our Contact Us page. If you believe this story has an error or you would like to get in touch with the author, please connect with us.